Former Guess executive chairman alleges lawyer extorted him over misconduct allegations
The co-founder of Guess Inc. is claiming that he was extorted by a prominent California attorney, who threatened to file a lawsuit accusing him of rape if he did not settle a claim by one of her clients.
In the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, Paul Marciano alleged that Lisa Bloom and the Bloom Firm engaged in “a pattern of tortious, deceptive and otherwise improper behavior” that was “exposed by a former client who had the courage to be a whistleblower to their outrageous conduct.”
In his case, which Marciano’s complaint said is similar to others, Bloom and her firm threatened to accuse him of “serious and violent felony criminal conduct” unless he and Guess paid their client. His complaint also alleges that they pushed him into the payment by sending him a final settlement demand and a draft complaint.
“The Bloom defendants forced plaintiff to play an extortive game of Russian Roulette,” according to the complaint. “They intentionally sought to induce fear in plaintiff that he would suffer severe consequences and damage if the Bloom defendants pulled the trigger on their threats.”
Marciano’s complaint also alleges that the client told the Bloom Firm that he did not rape her and acknowledged in the final form settlement agreement that the allegations included in the draft complaint were false. It said this was signed by the Bloom Firm.
“They concoct phony allegations of horrific conduct and bank on the reality that their targets do not want such disgusting and outrageous allegations made public, even if they are false,” according to the complaint.
Bloom responded to Marciano’s claims Monday, saying in a statement published by Law.com they were “laughable” and “baseless.”
“As for this former client, we have many confidential emails from her describing her appalling story of what Paul Marciano did to her, which is why she hired us, to get justice against him on her sexual misconduct claims,” Bloom said in the statement. “We get client approval on everything we send out.”
Bloom also said she is scheduled to depose Marciano in another sexual harassment case next week. According to Law.com, three former models have sued Guess for failing to stop alleged sexual misconduct by Marciano. He has denied those allegations but stepped down from his role as executive chairman at Guess in 2018, after model Kate Upton accused him on social media of assaulting and harassing her.